It has now been reported that the public statement from Newcastle players backing Steve McClaren before the Bournemouth match, was not agreed and put out by the United team/squad.

The Shields Gazette have revealed that many (all?) players didn’t know anything about this public show of support for the Head Coach until the same time the fans found out about it, when Sky Sports (who work closely with the club as preferred media partners) published the statement (read it below) some 90 minutes before kick-off.

They further say that the statement (which didn’t have the names of any individual players on it) wasn’t issued by Newcastle United’s own PR department.

Astonishing, quite astonishing.

When I say astonishing, I don’t mean any surprise that the Newcastle players had nothing to do with this statement, I didn’t meet a single supporter before, during or after Saturday’s match who thought that the words below had genuinely come from the players – a bit like the emails sent out in the names of Lee Charnley, Steve McClaren and Fabricio Coloccini previously.

Their performance on the pitch (as Alan Shearer pointed out) rubber stamping the fact that they aren’t playing for Steve McClaren, never mind going to the bother of instigating a public statement in support of him.

What I am astonished by is just how amateurish the club have sunk, to even lower standards than we have come to expect. The incompetence showing when they can’t even get the players to not deny/undermine the feeble PR stunt on Saturday.

This is what the Shields Gazette have revealed (bearing in mind as well they are very much ones for towing the club line and not rocking the boat):

‘Newcastle United’s players did NOT instigate the statement supposedly issued on their behalf backing Steve McClaren.

The first that many of the players knew about the statement, which was not issued by the club’s in-house PR department, was when it was brought to their attention before the game.’

The official statement ‘from’ the Newcastle Players – Saturday 5 March

“Newcastle United players would like to make clear that reports in some areas of the media suggesting we are surprised that our head coach has not been dismissed are untrue.

“As a group we aware of the situation we are in and it is our responsibility to change that.

“The coach and his staff prepare us well for each game, but once on the pitch it is not they who can stop the goals we concede or the chances we don’t take, that responsibility is ours the players.

“On the occasions we have given poor performances this season the coach has in the privacy of the dressing room rightly demonstrated his disappointment in us.

“In his press conferences, though, we have seen that he defends his group, continues to show faith in us and shares the responsibility with us. For this he has the full respect of the players.

“The players are also aware from articles in yesterday’s newspapers that a person or persons connected with the club are giving information to the press of a negative nature.

“As players we are very disappointed by this. It’s a betrayal of trust for the coach, us and the club.

“As a group we know we have it within us to keep this club in the Premier League.

“We now must fight every game at a time to earn our place in the Premier League for next season.”